Brittany and Doug

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How We Met

Before I start, I want to talk a bit about fate. Fate is a funny thing and something that can’t really be explained. I never believed in it, until I was able to experience it for myself.  During senior year of high school, I began applying to several colleges. My heart was set on Villanova; I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. It wasn’t until I was discussing my college list with my best friend that I even considered applying to Penn State. She went on and on about how amazing this school was–the amount of people, the football, the school spirit, and of course, the partying–and was grilling me as to why it wasn’t my first choice. I wasn’t sold at first, but after visiting the campus a few months later, I really loved it and thought, “Okay, why not. I’ll apply”  To make a long story short, I was accepted early admission, and Penn State would become my home for the next four years.  Fast forward to the second week of Freshman Year, that same friend dragged me to the activities fair.  We came upon the business fraternity tables and my friend loved the idea of joining a co-ed fraternity. It was like joining a sorority, only it was co-ed, and we had to go to some professional development sessions every semester. It sounded a bit nerdy to me, but nevertheless, we pledged together and were accepted into the Alpha Mu Fall 2010 pledge class.

Now that you have that bit of background, I’ll begin. Doug and I met Sophomore year at Penn State, when we joined the same business fraternity, Phi Gamma Nu #nerdalert . Although we were in the same fraternity, we pledged different semesters and therefore, were sort of in different cliques.  All I really knew about him was that he was from Pittsburgh, obsessed with the Steelers (who from Pittsburgh isn’t..?), and that he loved Rap music.

As senior year came about, all of us who were graduating were hanging out 24/7–we had to make the most of our last bit of time together before we all moved away from Happy Valley and started “real life”.  At our first senior group hangout, Doug and I talked all night. It’s amazing how we had never spoken more than a few words to each other before, and yet, after one night of chatting, we had this insane connection and felt like we had known each other forever. We shared so much in common–love for dogs, travel, sports, and Kevin Heart–and couldn’t believe we were only learning all of this about each other after being in the same social circle for nearly our entire college career. After that, we were pretty much inseparable–talking non-stop and hanging out almost every day. Christmas break rolled around, and we were texting each other every day, saying how we couldn’t wait to be back at school. I remember my sister grilling me as to why i was so giddy and had the biggest smile on my face. Needless to say, I am the worst at hiding my emotions, good and bad, especially from my family. I’m a Leo, I can’t help it.

I still can’t believe it took over 2 years from the time we first met, for us to realize the connection that we had. I guess, as they always say, “sometimes the best things are always right in front of you; it just takes some time for you to see them.”

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We officially started dating during Spring Break “20oh10” (I’m serious..); he was in Panama City and I was in Miami. We were talking on the phone and I believe the conversation went something like this: “So, should we just date? -Yea”. A bit far from romantic, but we’re not exactly the traditional type. As the lyrics go, we really did find love in a hopeless place.

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We moved to NYC right after graduation and have lived together on the Upper East Side ever since. We are always on the go and absolutely love exploring new restaurants and areas of New York, along with traveling to Miami and around the world.

I truly think we are where we are today because of fate. Although I didn’t know it yet, meeting Doug would be the reason why I went to Penn State, and also the reason why I joined Phi Gamma Nu–a school I never thought I would attend and a fraternity I never thought I would join…things really do happen for a reason.

Doug is truly my other (and better) half, my soulmate, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life as his wife!

How He Asked

Doug and I started dating in March 2010, and have known each other for some time before then.  Many of our friends who were in relationships as long as ours started getting engaged, so I assumed (was HOPING!) my big day was coming sooner rather than later. Every trip, every dinner, every walk through Central Park, I couldn’t help but think, “OMG. This could be it!”

Early in the week of October 26th, Doug texted me asking what my plans were for that Thursday night, 10/29.  I work in Digital Tech, so my schedule is constantly jam packed and different every week, filled with meetings, client events, and frequent business trips.  Luckily, the only thing I had scheduled that night was a Barre Class at Exhale near our apartment.  Doug works in finance, and he mentioned his boss was being honored for his work with and generous donations to the National Museum Association of NY at The River Cafe in Brooklyn. (I’ll soon find out later, there is no such thing..?) This wasn’t out of the norm as he does have several work events throughout the year.  He said his company was allowing those attending to bring their significant others this time around, and I was excited to go!  The River Cafe is a pretty fancy restaurant, so Doug mentioned I had to wear something nice. He had to wear a suit. He mentioned we didn’t have to be there until 8/830, which was the only thing that raised a red flag in my head–what party in NY starts at 8/830? But, I didn’t question it.

Doug met me at Drybar around 7:45 and ordered an Uber to bring us down to The River Cafe.  A few moments later, a huge Suburban pulled up. I was questioning why we needed this huge SUV for just the two of us, and he kept saying, “We can’t roll up to this big and fancy event in just a cab or normal car.” It sort of made sense, so I didn’t question it. Throughout the whole car ride down there from the Upper East Side, Doug was so antsy. He kept asking if it was hot in the car–putting the windows up and down and up and down. Checking his watch. His phone. Asking the driver to change the music. Turning the AC up and down up and down. I guess now I know why he was so antsy.. :)

As we were pulling up to The River Cafe, I expected cars everywhere and people outside mingling. There was nothing. No traffic. No people, no noise. Quiet and serene. It was about this time I started to get a pit in my stomach. Where was everyone? What is going on? Doug asked the driver to pull down a bit past the restaurant so we could meet up with this coworker “Jason” and his girlfriend, and take pictures on the pier. We started walking down the pier, and I was keeping an eye out for his coworker Jason–tall, wearing a black suit, his girlfriend is short, with blonde hair.  At the same time I realized there was no Jason, Doug quickly pulled me to the side and got down on my knee.  The waterworks started flowing, I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. OMG, it was happening!  I was so consumed in the moment that I forgot to say yes AND forgot to take the ring. Oops?

There was no one on the pier except us, a runner, and some tourists.  There was not a cloud in the sky and Downtown Manhattan was shining brighter than ever. It honestly could have not been more perfect. We stopped one of the tourists and asked him to take a picture for us. I loved that this special moment happened so privately and just between the two of us, but I knew friends and family would be asking for pics, so somehow I needed to get some.

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After I was able to stop crying and catch my breath, we walked up towards The River Cafe calling our parents and texting our close friends to share the good news. Word spread like wildfire. Doug had surprised me with a champagne toast and dinner at The River Cafe where we sat at the most perfect table overlooking the magnificent skyline.

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All throughout dinner, I had Doug repeat over and over again what he said to me while he was on his knee. I still do today. It’s my favorite thing to hear. We fell in love at Penn State, but our relationship truly blossomed and grew here in NYC. He wanted to take me to a place where he could ask me to be his wife..somewhere special that overlooked the place that has been so good to us and our relationship over the years. As we were walking out of The River Cafe, I was sort of bummed I didn’t have a picture of Doug down on one knee and me just absolutely surprised and overwhelmed with joy. There was a valet attendant in the parking lot as we exited, and we asked him if he would help us capture a reenactment of our proposal. Although this was a bit staged, I am absolutely in love with this photo and it perfectly showcases how happy Doug was and my reaction a few hours earlier. Thanks to The River Cafe for letting us borrow this beautiful background :)

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After dinner, Doug had one last surprise. We headed back to Manhattan to a speak easy in Murray Hill, where our closest friends were waiting for us with champagne on ice, ready to celebrate! I could have not asked for a better night and will cherish this day for as long as I live!

Special Thanks

The River Cafe
Engagement Dinner